This year’s International Day of the Disabled was observed in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region under the theme: Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: dignity and justice for all of us. Harriet Baffoe of the Department of Social Work, University of Ghana, and a field worker for Sharecare Ghana attended and gave the following report:
At about 9:00am on the 3rd of December, 2008, all umbrella organizations of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled gathered at the Catholic Social Centre, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region in their T-shirts to begin a 2 hour walk with brass band, music and dance through the principal streets of the city. Participants included delegates from Sharecare Ghana, Society of Albinos Ghana (SOAG), Ghana Association of the Blind (GAB), Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD), Parents Association of Children with Intellectual Disabilities (PACID) and the umbrella organization, Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD).
Delegates carried along with them placards saying: “We are capable and able; We want equal opportunities; We need our 2% District Assembly Common Fund; We want understanding; Stop abusing us”, among others as they roamed the streets of Bolgatanga. Many more residents, who were drawn to the scene, joined the parade and received T-shirts making the celebration more fun but educative.
The participants arrived safely where they started off, and a 30 minutes celebration of music and dance continued. After this session, all participants gathered in the hall for the rest of the programme.
A delegate from GAB introduced Mr. Samuel Kwesi Asare, President of GFD as the chairman for the occasion and also welcomed invited guests.
The chairman gave his address and a speech was the read on behalf of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Manpower, Social Welfare and State Enterprise. There was also a speech by Sight Savers in which they mentioned some of their contribution to the GAB and expressed the hope to do more not only for GAB but for the entire organization – GFD.
The International Day of the Disabled was preceded by a two-day delegates assembly of the GFD.